Money Wellness
A smiling child wrapped up warm at an outdoor Christmas event
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calendar icon09 Nov 2023

Free Christmas events to make the festive season sparkle

In our Christmas survey, we found over three quarters (76%) of you are expecting to have to cut back on this year’s festivities. And socialising was on the top of your cutback hitlist, with nearly half of you (46%) saying you plan to spend less than £50 on going out to Christmas events.

With that in mind, we decided to put together a list of some of the best free Christmas events, so you can enter into the spirit of things without breaking the bank.

Carols in the Cloister

If you’re anywhere near Norwich on 16 December, this could be one for you. Norwich Cathedral is hosting a festive singalong with its girl choristers in the beautiful surrounds of the cloister.

Organisers say warm, colourful and festive attire is encouraged. The singing gets underway at 4pm and there’s no charge.

Christmas by the Sea

Blackpool’s Tower Festival Headland is being transformed into a winter wonderland for the festive season. Head down between 17 November and 1 January to enjoy:

  • a free outdoor skating rink
  • the famous Blackpool illuminations
  • simulated snowfalls
  • Christmas chalets where you can buy gifts and tasty treats
  • light installations
  • a snow slide
  • festive fairground and tram rides
  • magical tower projections.

And entry is free!

Grassington Dickensian Festival

The Dickensian Festival in the picturesque North Yorkshire village of Grassington is a Christmas market with a Victorian theme.

Residents, stallholders and visitors dress up in period costume creating a spectacle worthy of a scene from A Christmas Carol. If this doesn’t get you in the festive spirit, nothing will!

This year, the markets take place on Saturday 2 and 9 of December from 10am to 4.30pm.

Christmas light switch on

Visiting a local Christmas light switch on is sure to add some sparkle to your day.

Here’s a selection taking place up and down the country this month:

Birmingham – 15 November

Edinburgh, George Street – 17 November

Oxford city centre – 17 November

Bournemouth, Lower Gardens – 17 November

Chester Cathedral – 17 November

Liverpool – 18 November

Glasgow, George Square – 19 November

Cheltenham, Pittwille Pump Room – 25 November

Artisan Markets

Holden Clough Nurseries in Clitheroe, Lancashire, is holding a number of artisan markets this month. The finest makers, designers and producers from Lancashire and beyond will be showcasing their wares. Browse for free or pick up a Christmas gift or two.

The markets are weekend events taking place from Friday to Sunday between 17-19 November and 24-26 November.

Visit Santa

Meet the man himself at the London Transport Museum. He’ll be ho-ho-hoping you'll join him between 24 November and 23 December.

The museum is also running a range of other Christmas activities right through to the New Year, including:

  • Christmas stories in the den
  • holiday crafts
  • a story trail through its galleries

All festive family fun is free with museum entry.

Christmas markets

There are a whole host of Christmas markets that you can attend for free up and down the country. Among the best are Edinburgh, Bath and York, as well some smaller ones such as the Brindle Distillery event in Lancashire.

They're all free to attend so you can spend as little or as much as you like, all while soaking up the festive atmosphere.

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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